Bob Dylan: An Influence for a Generation
“A person is a success if they get up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between dose what he wants to do” --words spoken by the singer/songwriter Bob Dylan. Being a man of success himself, yet a very humble and simple man, changed the way people view musical quality. Dylan was awarded with the number one song in the twentieth century with those lyrics from his masterpiece Like a Rolling Stone, by Rolling Stone Magazine. His poetic words were heard all across the world, inspiring all who heard his voice. Telling tales of political and civil injustice, Dylan’s words brought normal everyday life a new sense of hope through tough times in a person’s life. Discussed will be the early era of Dylan from his unique musical talents during his childhood which drove him to his writing pieces, himself as an inspirational and motivated leader of the 1960’s and how his powerful music makes him one of the most influential musicians of all time. In the beginning, Bob Dylan was born Robert Allan Zimmerman on May 24th, 1941 in Duluth Minnesota (Heatly, 126). Dylan was raised in a middle-class family to his parents Abraham and Beatrice Zimmerman (Martin). His father owned Zimmerman Furniture & Appliance Company in the small town of Duluth, but the family was forced to move to the nearby town of Hibbing after he lost the business due to him becoming ill with polio in 1946 (Kooper). Dylan was raised in Hibbing, Minnesota from the age of seven and lived there for most of his childhood (Heatly, 126). Raised in a small town, Dylan was musically inclined and had a great significance in music at an incredibly young age which brought him to learn many various instruments at the same time. He took piano lessons when first moving to Hibbing, but became impatient with the teacher so decided to quit lessons and began to teach himself how to play piano, guitar and harmonica; without surprisingly knowing how to read music (Martin). With his yearning for music, Dylan was largely influenced by the late-night radio broadcasts of the country, blues and rock-and-roll, during his mid-teens (Heatly, 126). Some of his favorites were the blues musicians, which included Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Jimmy Reed (Martin). Dylan’s favorite musical idol was Woody Guthrie, who was a socially-conscious singer/songwriter of “This Land is Your Land” and several other protest songs (Heatly, 126). Always knowing he wanted to be a musician, Dylan tried to play in many bands as possible during high school and throughout college as well. In 1959, just before enrolling in college, he served a brief stint playing piano for the rising pop star, Bobby Vee (Kooper). With some musical experience, Dylan participated in several high school rock bands while studying at the University of Minnesota with a high interest of American folk music (Heatly 126). While in college, Dylan discovered the bohemian section of Minneapolis know as Dinkytown (Kooper). An after Dylan explored the talent that came out of Dinkytown; Dylan was inspired to quit the University of Minnesota and became a full-time musician. Dylan traveled to the East Coast, playing at several Greenwich Village coffeehouses and was gaining rising fame (Heatly, 126). He went by the phony name of Bob Dylan, which was picked out after the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. Dylan picked him because he liked many of Thomas’ poems (Kooper). During his travels between coffeehouses, Dylan was determined to meet up with musician Woody Guthrie. Guthrie, who was actually in a New Jersey hospital dying from a neurological disorder called Huntington’s Chorea. Dylan was able to speak to Guthrie, his idol, before he passed away… but never explained in detail of their only and final conversation between each other (Heatly, 126). With his multiple coffeehouse performances, his career took off and still soars to this day. Bob Dylan became a common name and his skills of music and lyrics became...
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